Scream Factory kicked off its home video career by res­cu­ing some note­wor­thy Universal hor­ror films from cat­a­log-title obliv­ion.  They’ve returned to that well with a new blu-ray edi­tion of Paul Schrader’s 1982 remake of Cat People.  It’s not as jam-packed as their collector’s edi­tions often are but there are some new things here that will inter­est fans.

The trans­fer used for this blu-ray has some notable strengths: the elab­o­rate col­or schemes are vivid­ly rep­re­sent­ed, the ele­ment used looks clean and black lev­els look rich.  The detail lev­el fluc­tu­ates from scene to scene, sug­gest­ing that noise reduc­tion has been used.  Both 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo mix­es are offered in loss­less form for the audio.  The 5.1 track was sam­pled for this review and it cre­ates a sub­tly immer­sive son­ic envi­ron­ment for the lis­ten­er, spread­ing out the elec­tron­ic tex­tures of Giorgio Moroder’s score effec­tive­ly and sprin­kling in some great direc­tion­al effects along the way (look out for that street­car!).

CatPeop82-bluThe biggest sur­prise with this disc is that it does not fea­ture any of the spe­cial fea­tures from Universal’s spe­cial edi­tion DVD of Cat People: appar­ent­ly, a deal could not be struck for their use here.  Thus, those who have that DVD will want to hang onto it and fans will want to hunt it down as it has a Schrader com­men­tary and sev­er­al fea­turettes unique to that edi­tion.

In place of those fea­tures, Scream Factory has cre­at­ed a more mod­est but still worth­while set of new extras.   The major inclu­sion is a series of new video inter­views, all in the five to ten min­ute range, with sev­en cast and crew mem­bers: Natassja Kinski, Annette O’Toole, John Heard, Malcolm McDowell, Giorgio Moroder and Paul Schrader.  The short run­ning times work again­st the par­tic­i­pants being tru­ly reveal­ing about their work — one gets the sense Heard is hold­ing back in his brief inter­view — but every­one reveals some inter­est­ing detail about their work on the film.  For exam­ple, O’Toole talks about an injury dur­ing shoot­ing that made things com­plex for her and the film­mak­ers and McDowell reveals how get­ting his hair dyed turned into an unex­pect­ed has­sle.

The best inter­views are the ones with Lowry and Schrader.  Lowry has just one major sequence in the film, so she’s able to talk about it in great detail.  She talks a lot about how speci­fic a direc­tor Schrader is when it comes to block­ing and the array of phys­i­cal (and some­times gru­el­ing) chal­lenges involved in shoot­ing the shock set­piece she’s involved in. Schrader reveals some inter­est­ing details about how he changed the finale of the orig­i­nal script and talks about how he worked a vari­ety of his own obses­sions into the film, includ­ing every­thing from Freudian the­o­ries to the visu­al design of Bertolucci’s The Conformist.

The remain­der of the extras are devot­ed to pro­mo­tion­al mate­ri­als. The the­atri­cal trail­er is pret­ty impres­sive, essen­tial­ly a two-min­ute music video that makes effec­tive use of the styl­ized visu­als and David Bowie’s ele­gant the­me song, with a lit­tle dia­logue thrown in to set up the film’s themes. A short t.v. spot explores the same ter­ri­to­ry but is more impres­sion­is­tic due to time lim­i­ta­tions. A pho­to gallery offers over 100 items, mix­ing pub­lic­i­ty pho­tos with an array of col­or and black-and-white stills. The final item is a gallery enti­tled “Production Art And Posters”: it con­tains plen­ty of both but also includes some lob­by cards and even a few images of the­ater mar­quees fea­tur­ing Cat People.

In short, this blu-ray edi­tion of Cat People has its strengths and weak­ness­es.  While it would have been nice to have the extras from the spe­cial edi­tion DVD port­ed over, the new extras pro­vid­ed here are a nice, new com­ple­ment to the extras on the past DVD.